Saturday, November 03, 2007

MGM Mirage looking to expand in Mass with Indian partners

11.03.07

Conn. tribes explore Mass. for casino sites
Race to maintain hold on N.E. market

By Matt Viser, Globe Staff

The Connecticut Indian tribe that operates the Foxwoods casino and its Las Vegas partner are actively scouring Massachusetts for casino locations, part of a race between two of Connecticut's tribes to protect their share of the New England gambling market.

The Mashantucket Pequot and MGM Mirage, which operates the Bellagio and MGM Grand among other resorts in Las Vegas and other casinos around the country, have so far shopped for a site in the Boston area and in Western Massachusetts. Foxwoods officials spent a good portion of the past two months in talks with operators of Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere, but the talks fizzled. An executive from MGM Mirage, meanwhile, has looked at a 1,600-acre tract in the Central Massachusetts town of Warren.

Another tribe, the Mohegan, which operates Mohegan Sun, was the first Connecticut tribe to plant a flag in Massachusetts with a proposed site on 150 acres in Palmer.

The competing tribes' interest in bidding for gaming licenses under Governor Deval Patrick's plan to introduce resort-casinos demonstrates how they are seeking to use their riches to expand beyond Connecticut's borders, after enjoying a lock on New England casino gambling for more than a decade.

Under Patrick's proposal, the state would auction off three licenses, one each in metropolitan Boston, Southeastern Massachusetts, and Western Massachusetts.

The Pequot formed a partnership with MGM Mirage last year to seek development possibilities worldwide. Scott Snow, executive vice president of MGM Mirage, recently toured the Warren location, according to the current property owners.

The Warren site, adjacent to the intersection of Interstates 90 and 84, is less than 10 miles from the area in Palmer where the Mohegan tribe wants to build.

"We are interested in Massachusetts," said Alan Feldman, MGM's senior vice president of public affairs, who stressed that any discussions are preliminary and would depend on what the final legislation, which the Legislature is not expected to take up until next year, looks like. "There's interest on the part of everyone in the industry. We'll see where it all leads."

MGM, the largest landowner on Las Vegas Boulevard, is one of the dominant casino developers in the world, operating several resorts in Las Vegas and casinos in Detroit, Atlantic City, and Biloxi, Miss. ... (Full Story)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Barwest has spent $19 million advancing Los Coyotes' Barstow casino; now pulls funding for land-into-trust process

Michael J. Malik, Sr., manager for Detroit-based casino syndicators LCB BarWest, LLC, sent a letter to Los Coyotes tribal spokeswoman Katherine Siva Saubel responding to her September 28, 2007 letter terminating the partnership between the tribe and BarWest.

In the letter, Malik is quite surprised the tribal elder has notified him of the termination. Malik sites among other things:
  • BarWest has spent $19 million to date trying to get the Los Coyotes casino resort plans approved.
  • A solid relationship between BarWest and UNITE-HERE's international labor leaders.
  • BarWest's desire to retain new lobbyists and a new PR firm in Sacramento.
  • Confussion over who represents the Los Coyotes tribal leadership today.
  • Termination of BarWest's financial support for the EIS being preapred by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as part of the land-into-trust process.
  • An unwillingness to sell land in Barstow currently owned by BarWest to the Los Coyotes Indians. An application was made to the BIA in March 2006 to transfer that land into trust for the tribe. That process is now on hold.
Malik's partner in LCB BarWest, LLC is Mrs. Marian Ilitch. Her husband Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers and they also own the Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars Pizza and MotorCity Casino.

LCB Barwest response to termination by Los Coyotes Band of Indians

Los Coyotes tribe dumps Detroit-based casino syndicator BarWest, LLC (Marian Ilitch and Michael J. Malik, Sr.)

On September 28, 2007, the spokeswoman for the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians Katherine Siva Saubel terminated the tribe's partnership agreement with Detroit-based LCB Barwest, LLC to build a casino resort in Barstow.

Saubel sites Barwest's inability to get legislative ratification of Compacts signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 as the primary reason. Saubel notes with the failure to win ratification this past year, the Compact has expired and the tribe must now begin negotiations for a new Gaming Compact with the state.

Saubel indicates the tribe plans to conduct a search for a developer once its has a new agreement with the Governor and promises LCB BarWest, LLC will be included in that process.

Saubel also indicates the tribe is interested in acquiring land held by BarWest, LLC in Barstow which the tribe is currently seeking to have taken into trust by the Deparment of Interior.

Letter Terminating LCB BarWest, LLC

Iacocca in the middle of tribal dispute involving Barronhaus LTD and BarWest LLC

In a suprise turn of events, apparently Barron Maisel, principal at Palm Desert-based Barronhaus LTD, and a partner of the Los Coyotes Band of Indians, had represented he had entered into talks with Lee Iacocca and Full House Resorts to partner with the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians on a casino resort going forward.

In an email between Dykema attorney Lance Boldrey and representatives for Lee Iacocca it was represented that Maisel was using a picture taken at a dinner in 2004 with Iacocca to prove Iacocca was now involved with Barronhaus LTD and the Los Coyotes Indians.

Attorney's at Dykema Gossett, representing both Full House Resorts and LCB BarWest, LLC confirmed in a telephone call and follow up correspondence that Iacocca and Full House had not entered into any discussions with Barronhaus LTD or the Los Coyotes Band of Indians.

Los Coyotes Band of Indians signed 2003 contract with casino partner Barronhaus LTD

In May 2003, before proponents of Indian Gaming in Barstow, CA went public with plans to develop an casino resort, the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians entered into an agreement to partner on such a casino with Barronhaus LTD, a Palm Desert based investor. Barronhaus LTD is backed by Barron Maisel and Gretchen Belli.

In June 2003, at a meeting of the Barstow City Council, Detroit-based Barwest LLC -- an entity controlled by Mrs. Marian Ilitch and her associate Michael J. Malik, Sr., -- announced plans to build a casino resort in partnership with the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians. The City entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with Barwest LLC but had no agreement with the Los Coyotes Indians.

It is unclear if the Los Coyotes Indian tribe had any contract with Barwest LLC at that time. TVT has seen documents suggesting that the existing contract between LCB Barwest LLC and the Los Coyotes Band of Indians wasn't entered into until Spring 2005.

Contract between Barronhaus LTD and the Los Coyotes Band of Indians - May 2003

Letter terminating relationship between Barronhaus LTD and the Los Coyotes Band of Indians - October 2007

Judge blocks proposed Shinnecock Casino in The Hamptons

as posted 11.01.07 at Native America, Discovered and Conquered:

NY Tribe loses case for land rights
Indianz.com reports: “Citing the “disruptive nature” of the Shinnecock Nation’s attempts to assert sovereignty, a federal judge on Tuesday blocked the New York tribe from opening a gaming facility on ancestral land. The tribe has lived on Long Island for thousands of years. Its reservation, located in the heart of the wealthy enclave known as the Hamptons, is recognized by the state as sovereign land. But in a 129-page ruling, Judge Joseph F. Bianco said a disputed parcel outside the eservation is not sovereign territory. Though the tribe owns the “Westwoods” land in fee, it lost aboriginal title hundreds of years ago, the lengthy decision stated. Bianco, a Bush appointee, said “the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrated in a plain and unambiguous manner that aboriginal title held by the Westwoods land was extinguished in the 17th century.” Yet even if aboriginal title still existed, Bianco said the tribe can’t use the site for gaming due to the “highly disruptive consequences” of the proposed 61,000-square-foot casino. Nearly 20 pages of the opinion were dedicated to the impacts of gaming on the environment, traffic, health and safety... (Full Post)

Ilitch involved with Axiom theme park?

According to the Jabeta's World blog, this past year the Grayling (MI)township council unanimously approved the concept plans of a $161-million, four-season, 1,800-acre amusement park (Cedar Point is only 364 acres)!

MainStreet America, Inc. is a newer company consisting of Disney and Universal Studio (still in the rumored state) working along with Rochester-based Axiom Entertainment (not in the rumor state), a private, entertainment-based marketing company that specializes in socially responsible television programming for families. The new park may be called, “Four Seasons” others are reporting that it might be called MainStreet America.

Mybaycity.com reports that the Ilitches are involved with Axiom Entertainment:

Mike Ilitch Jr., 48, associated with Axiom Entertainment, is one of seven children of Mike and Marian Ilitch, founders of the Little Caesar's pizza chain in 1959. They own the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and Motor City Casino . The couple has seven children: son Christopher Ilitch (born June 1965) is CEO and President of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.; daughter Denise Ilitch (born November 1955) is an attorney. Other children are Ron Ilitch (born June 1957), Michael Ilitch, Jr.; Lisa Ilitch Murray; Atanas Ilitch; and Carole Ilitch Trepeck.

According to residents of the depressed area, “it’s something that’s desperately needed.” 2000 new jobs will be created—700 full-time and the rest depending on the season. According to spokesman Patrick Crosson, 95% of the employees will be from a 75-mile radius of the park. Minimum wage would be $8 per hour, with many of the jobs, like theme-park ride operator requiring a college degree and paying approximately $36,000 a year... (Full Post)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Los Coyotes tribe split on casino matters

11.01.07

Dispute threatens to split Los Coyotes tribe

by Malcolm Maclachlan

An internal disagreement over whether to continue the relationship with their longtime business partner is threatening to split the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and CupeƱo Indians.

The tribe joined with a Detroit-based management company in 2003 as part of their effort to land a casino. After yet another setback in that effort, the tribe's longtime leader wants to sever ties with Barwest LLC and it's owner, Michael Malik. Another faction in the tribe may be on the verge of attempting to oust her, Saubel said.

The result has been a barrage of accusations and counter allegations.

Los Coyotes has been in the news in recent months as the tribe sought to work with another tribe, the Big Lagoon Rancheria, to open a casino in Barstow. (Los Coyotes' reservation is located in San Diego County. Big Lagoon is in Humboldt County.) Saubel claimed that Barwest and Malik "have done nothing" for the tribe except make empty promises.

"Why should we give [Malik] another chance when there are other people who want to help us?" Saubel said. "He's standing in our way."

Saubel said the 300-member tribe is now divided into two approximately equal halves. Her group includes most of the older tribal members, she said. They also remain allied with the investment firm Barronhaus and its principals, Barron Maisel and Gretchen Belli.

The other side is led by a pair of younger tribal leaders, Shane Chapparosa and Tina Johnson. Saubel said this group includes the rest of the Chapparosa family and many of the tribe's younger members. They remain allied with Barwest.

"We are planning on moving forward with Barwest," said Chapparosa, who is listed as the tribe's vice spokesperson. He said he continues to work under Saubel. When told that Saubel had made conflicting statements, he indicated that the dispute could be settled by next week. "We have some internal tribal matters that we need to take care of," Chapparosa said.

Capitol Weekly has acquired numerous and contradictory documents detailing the relationship between Barwest and Los Coyotes. A spokesman for Barwest, Tom Shields, characterized the leaking of these documents as "part of a long line of efforts by people who want to derail this project." One of these documents was a September 28 letter from Saubel to Malik and Barwest, written on tribal letterhead.

"The tribe is in the process of starting over," Saubel wrote. "As part of this new beginning, and at least for the time being, the Tribe will disengage from LCB Barwest LLC."

Shields characterized this as part of an ongoing discussion, and said the tribe never entertained serious offers from any other outside management company. He denied that there was any "dispute" within the tribe.

"There are confidential letters that have gone back and forth between the tribe," Shields said. "It's unfortunate that there are folks out there who feel they need to distribute confidential information."

In another complication, Barwest owns the Barstow land on which the tribe hopes to build their casino. In her letter, Saubel wrote "regardless of whether Barwest comes to work with us again as a developer and casino manager, the tribe hopes to negotiate the purchase of the Barstow real property owned by LCB Barwest."

Shields said that Barwest "provided the financing … part of that is purchasing the land," and the parties still intend to build there. In a Wednesday story in a local Barstow paper, the Desert Dispatch, Malik was quoted as saying he would not sell the land to the tribe if they were no longer working together.

In the meantime, Shields said, the tribe had cut ties with the Barronhaus. This was indicated in an October 17 letter from the tribes official counsel, Joel Bernstein of the firm McDermott Will & Emery. "The tribe voted on October 14, 2007, to sever all business relationships with you. You are not to … represent to any third party that you represent the tribe."

"We had some deep concerns about some of the people who were involved with the tribe," Shields said. "They have severed that relationship."

Not so, said Saubel. She said Barronhaus has "done a good job" and continues to work with the tribe. She said the letter in question was drafted by Bernstein but never sent. When asked how the letter got out, Saubel said she didn't know. However, the tribal offices were broken into over the weekend and numerous internal documents were stolen, she said. Maisel also said that his company continues to work with Los Coyotes.
Barronhaus started working with Los Coyotes in 2002, and actually brought Barwest in the next year, a decision he said was a mistake. He also said a lawsuit filed against them by Barwest in June was a "frivolous" attempt to force them out and that papers were never served. Maisel went on to allege the Barwest was the source of the letters leaked to the media.

"The source is Tom Shields trying to split the tribe in two," Maisel said.

Big Lagoon chairman Virgil Moorehead said that his tribe is no longer involved with the Barstow Casino effort and are going ahead with a solo attempt to build a casino on their own lands, 750 miles to the north. The two tribes had a deal with the state to pursue a shared casino in Barstow, but that expired six weeks ago.

"Since September 17, we're focused on Big Lagoon and our negotiations with the state," Moorehead said.

Senator Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, proposed a gaming compact for the tribes this year in SB 157. The bill never moved out of committee and was amended in September to become a measure on licensing wine growers. The Michael Malik Sr. Trust contributed $2,000 to Wiggins' Senate campaign last year.

Saubel said there is a council-only meeting today to discuss the casino efforts--a meeting she was not invited to be but plans to attend anyway. A full tribal council meeting is set for mid-November. Saubel claimed the Malik has "seduced" the younger member of the tribe and called him "the devil himself."

"I was 83 when we started this. I'm 87 now," Saubel said. "I think he's just waiting for me to keel over."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Barwest casino project in chaos ... again

10.31.07

Internal documents indicate strife in casino project

By JASON SMITH, staff writer

BARSTOW — Someone wants people to think that a Barstow casino project has fallen apart.

The Desert Dispatch and other media outlets were recently sent internal correspondence from an unknown source showing that the deal between the Los Coyotes Band of Cahullia and Cupeno Indians and developer BarWest, LLC to build an off-reservation casino in Barstow near Lenwood had been called off. Representatives from both BarWest and the Los Coyotes said that although the internal memos are accurate, both parties are in negotiations, and the project is still moving forward.

BarWest spokesman Tom Shields declined to comment about the internal memos between the tribe and BarWest, and said he’s not sure who leaked the documents.

“The leaking of private correspondence between the Tribe and our business associates is just another underhanded attempt by those who are trying to derail this project. ... We look forward to meeting with the Governor to discuss how we can make this project a reality,” Shields said in a statement representing the Los Coyotes and BarWest on Tuesday.

The Los Coyotes tribe had partnered with the Big Lagoon Rancheria Tribe and BarWest to develop a Barstow casino several years ago. The project was approved by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the agreements necessary for development stalled in the legislature and expired in September.

In a letter dated Sept. 28 to BarWest president Michael J. Malik, Sr., Katherine Siva Saubel, chairwoman of the Los Coyotes tribe, discontinued the tribe’s relationship with BarWest.

“The tribe is in the process of starting over and will attempt to open discussions with the Governor’s office to obtain a new gaming compact. As part of this new beginning and at least for the time being, the tribe will disengage from LCB BarWest LLC,” the letter stated.

The letter also mentioned the tribe’s desire to negotiate the purchase of the proposed casino site, 47 acres near Lenwood, from BarWest. The developer currently owns the land but must transfer it to the tribe as part of the federal land-into-trust process before the project can move forward.

Malik responded to the letter stating that he was “puzzled” by the tribe’s decision and said the land was not for sale.

“Our willingness to transfer that property to the Tribe is part and parcel of having a relationship as the Tribe’s Developer and Manager. The use of that property is also contingent on agreements with the Big Lagoon Rancheria, which still holds the key to Barstow,” he wrote in response.

The letter also stated that BarWest had spent millions on the Barstow project and blamed employees of the investment bank BarronHaus, for trying to “disrupt” BarWest’s relationship with the tribe and “sell the project to other developers.”

Los Coyotes contracted with BarronHaus in May 27, 2003 to perform financing for a gaming facility in California. On Oct. 14, the tribe severed all ties with BarronHaus, according to a representative from the tribe.

On June 21, 2007, BarWest sued BarronHaus in California Central District Court to stop the investment bank’s affiliation with the casino project, said BarWest spokesman Tom Shields. Employees of BarronHaus did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Shane Chapparosa, spokesman for the tribe, said that although BarronHaus employee Gretchen Belli was once an assistant to tribal council member Kevin Siva, the firm is no longer affiliated with the project. Siva, who had served as a spokesman for the tribe and the project and had spoken about the project at Barstow City Council meetings, is no longer a member of the tribal council, Chapparosa said.

Citing “internal matters of the tribe” Chapparosa declined to provide details, but said that the tribe did end its contract with BarWest after the tribe’s compact with the governor expired in early September 2007. He said the tribe plans to continue to work with BarWest to bring a casino to Barstow.

“We are putting everything back into place — the arrangements with the developer BarWest, the City of Barstow and the governor,” Chapparosa said.

He said that the Los Coyotes may continue to collaborate with the Big Lagoon Rancheria tribe on the Barstow project, but this is uncertain as Big Lagoon is proceeding with casino development plans on their Humboldt county reservation.

“That would be up to Virgil (Moorehead, Big Lagoon’s chairman), as he has his own agenda,” Chapparosa said.

Big Lagoon Rancheria Tribal spokesman Jason Barnett said that Big Lagoon recently sent a letter to the governor to begin negotiations to build a casino on their Humboldt County reservation, but may continue with the Barstow project.

“As Chairman Moorehead said, ‘If Barstow is not in play, the tribe will consider it’s options back in Humboldt county’,” Barnett said.

He said that despite the Humboldt development, the tribe has not given up on building in Barstow.

“Barstow is still in play because we think and the state thought that it is the best location for the tribes and the city," he said.

Barnett said that he couldn’t comment about the relationship between BarWest and the Los Coyotes, but said that the Big Lagoon Rancheria tribe is committed to working with both parties on the Barstow project.

Barnett said that all three parties are working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to put the land for the proposed Barstow casino into federal trust, a neccesary step before the project can move forward.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or
jason_smith@link.freedom.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Locals say much construction remains underway at Detroit's MotorCity Casino

Detroit locals who have apparently visited MotorCity Casino and who are active on the AtDetroit.net forum are reporting that construction is not complete on MotorCity Casino's hotel and that construction is still underway on the casino's expanded gaming floor which MotorCity Casino officials announced was completed and now open to gamblers back in June/July.

MotorCity Casino's hotel was slated to open November 1 but mangement announced the opening of the new property would be delayed up to a month. Spokespersons for MotorCity Casino said a delay in furniture was responsible for the postponement. Locals say there is much construction still underway.

Draft EIS for Barwest's Barstow Casinos and Resorts likely delayed until 2008

TVT has learned that sources at the Sacramento office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and at Analytical Environmental Services (AES) have indicated a Draft EIS for the Barstow Casinos and Resorts, proposed by Barwest LLC with the Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians, won't be available for public inspection until after the first of the year (2008). AES is the consultant that has been retained by the BIA to manage the EIS program.

The EIS is a required element in the proess to transfer land in Barstow controlled by Detroit casino syndicators Barwest LLC into trust for the two Indian tribes.

Following release of a DRAFT EIS, the public will have a minimum 45-day review process which can be extended. Both the BIA and AES have indicated that during that time another public hearing on the matter is expected as well.

Barwest had originally announced the public could expect the Draft EIS by the end of this past summer and then revised those statements to indicate the document would be available this past September.

Based on these most current reports, the EIS process would not be completed until March or April 2008 at the earliest.

Completion of an EIS is only part of the process that the BIA/Department of Interior undertakes when considering the taking of land into trust for federally recognized Indian tribes.

While the best case scenario to take land into trust for a tribe for any purpose might take 18-24 months it can take as long as ten - fifteen years or more. Trust applications involving lands intended for gaming historically have taken the longer, rather than the shorter, time frames.

During the last seven years of Bush Administration, the Secretary of Interior has failed to take any land into trust for the purpose of gaming with circumstances similar to the Barwest scheme for Barstow.

Has the Los Coyotes Band of Indians abandoned Detroit casino syndicators Barwest LLC?

Have the leaders of the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians once again terminated their contract with Detroit based casino syndicators Barwest LLC?

Back in 2004, after being awarded a contract with the City of Barstow, the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians quietly severed its ties to Barwest LLC, a casino development entity formed by Detroit's Marian Ilitch and Michael J. Malik, Sr. The leaders fo the Los Coyotes Band sought out another development partner, Jerry Argovitz of Houston, Texas.

During the 2004 Barstow City Council elections Mayor Lawrence Dale and others were questioned about the split between Los Coyotes and Barwest. He and others denied there had been a split between the tribe and the Detroit casino syndicators. However, during the second quarter of 2005, having reunited, Los Coyotes leaders and Barwest principals publicly acknowledged they had parted ways for a period of time the previous year.

Documents forwarded to TVT clearly acknowledge the split and the various arrangements that were attempted during that period between the various parties; despite the previous public denials.

And now rumors have started to circulate that the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians have again parted ways with Barwest LLC.

Barwest failed to garner legislative support in both 2006 & 2007 for ratification of gaming agreements for both the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon Rancheria Indians signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.

It's not clear what if any agreement is still in place between Barwest LLC and the Big Lagoon Rancheria Indians.

Ilitch Holdings can't give MotorCity Casino discounted tickets to Tigers and Red Wings games

10.29.07


MotorCity: Room to compete?
Newest casino to rely on local appeal to draw hotel guests

By Daniel Duggan

When MotorCity Casino opens its luxury hotel next month, it not only will bring 400 more rooms to Detroit, it will begin a new era of hotel casino competition in Motown.

While Detroit's three casinos have been going at it for years, MotorCity and MGM Grand Detroit Casino L.L.C. will be competing for hotel stays as well.

MGM will use its national programs and management while MotorCity will rely on its local appeal.

Industry analysts and consultants expect battle lines to be drawn over the so-called high rollers — and who can do the best job of schmoozing them.

"Marketing a casino is totally different than marketing a hotel," said Bill Callnin, chairman of Virginia-based Cayuga Advisors, which specializes in casino consulting.

"They're not looking for a group to stay at the hotel for three or four nights. They're looking to offer comps to individual players, befriend them, impress them, and get them to come back," Callnin said.

In the gaming industry, gamblers who spend thousands of dollars during a visit are carefully cataloged in databases. Detailed information, such as game preferences, birthdays, restaurant preferences and favorite shows are kept on file at the properties.

Accounts similar to an airline's frequent-flyer program are used in gaming to track gamblers and offer promotions based on the amount of money spent. With MGM's national reach, it has a major advantage in Detroit, said Callnin.

"MGM has that database of hundreds of thousands of gamblers, and they will be telling them, 'When you're in the Midwest, make sure to stop by our property in Detroit,' " he said.

MotorCity COO Rhonda Cohen downplayed MGM's databases, emphasizing her company's local ownership by Marian Ilitch as key to understanding Detroit.

"MGM has made a big deal about bringing Las Vegas to Detroit," she said. "MotorCity is bringing Detroit to Detroit."

She said the architecture and design of the hotel reflect the city's industrial past in an effort to better connect with regional customers.

While MotorCity can't bring employees from Las Vegas for its opening as MGM did, it can impress people with ingenuity.

The hotel will use technology to cater to repeat customers. Details such as the room temperature and pillow selection — from the "pillow menu" — will be saved in a database and recalled for a repeat user.

Cohen also expects to have an advantage in offering packages that will have stronger appeal to regional gamblers —
sports tickets packaged with hotel stays, for example.

MotorCity Casino cannot legally acquire tickets to Ilitch Holdings-owned Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings games for a discount, Cohen said. But corporate attorneys are examining the legality of using tickets to the Ilitch-managed Fox Theatre for gambling incentives.

MGM officials have said publicly that the nature of competition in Detroit will be friendly. All the properties, after all, have a common goal of creating a new leisure travel market in Detroit.

Chuck Skelton, president of Ann Arbor-based Hospitality Advisors Inc., said the casinos will be like Wendy's and McDonald's, creating synergy for a similar product while competing.

"You're overlaying casino hotels in an area that has been 65 to 70-percent commercial travel-oriented," he said. "So the casinos are looking to create a significant amount of leisure travel for Detroit."

They have to create hundreds of thousands of room nights for themselves each year, something that didn't exist before.

MGM was the first to open its hotel, Oct. 3. MotorCity announced last week that its Nov. 1 opening has been delayed by ongoing labor negotiations, the state government shutdown, staff training and delivery of room furniture. It is expected to open mid-November.

Greektown Casino L.L.C. is expected to open its hotel next year.

Being the first to open is not crucial, analysts say, because it will take years for the properties to stabilize. Analysts predict enough gambling revenue for all three operations.

Callnin said the first casino in Connecticut was making $1 billion per year. When the second operation opened, most expected both to make $500 million.

"The truth was, they have both leveled off at $1 billion a year," he said.

Daniel Duggan: (313) 446-0414,
dduggan@crain.com

Monday, October 29, 2007

Shinnecocks Face New Challenges in Racetrack Bid

on 10.28.07 The New York Times published the following:

After New York State officials asked for bids to operate video-lottery terminals at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, proposals came in this month from two companies that operate racetracks and three American Indian casino owners.

The sixth bidder was the Shinnecock Indian Nation, which operates neither casinos nor racetracks, but a small cluster of smoke shops here on its reservation on the East End of Long Island.

The bid was backed by Gateway Casino Resorts, a Detroit-based casino development company operated by Marian Ilitch, part owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers and the Little Caesars Pizza chain.

The Shinnecocks’ proposal seemed audacious: a casino with 500,000 square feet of gambling space, hundreds of gaming and card tables, more than 10,000 slot machines and a 1,200-room hotel. The estimated annual revenue would be $2.1 billion... (Full Story)

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certainly must reads!

Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? Forbes.com 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land newsday.com 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire RGTonline.com 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners MichiganDaily.com 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute detnews.com 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller freep.com 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit rgtonline.com 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged freep.com 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer desertdispatch.com 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project LasVegasSun.com 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow signonSanDiego.com 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles detnews.com 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year Michigan.gov 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino detnews.com 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch detnews.com 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests gamblingmagazine.com 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E detnews.com 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy detnews.com 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... crainsdetroit.com 03.17.97

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